With the Internet and technology, having a remote workforce which can work from outside the office is easier than ever. And while some businesses have concerns about letting employers out of sight, studies have found that remote workers are happier and more productive. Consequently, more workers are telecommuting as bosses become more comfortable with the concept.

At the same time, there are unique challenges that appear when managing remote employees such as promoting constant communication and monitoring for accountability. Here are a few important tips which any manager should consider for handling remote work.

  1. Remote work is a privilege, not a right

The biggest concern which businesses have with remote work is that employees will just use their time at home to goof off, and that fear is understandable when you look at examples like Yahoo and the U.S. Patent Office. You can mitigate this problem with proper communication and technology such as Google Apps, but the best way to get the most out of remote work is to only grant it to your most reliable employees. A reliable employee in the office should be a reliable employee at home.

Since remote workers are happier, you can make it clear that remote work is a reward for your most productive employees. This will improve both remote productivity by letting the best employees work online and in-house productivity by those who want the privilege.

  1. Set remote work rules in advance

If remote working is a privilege, then workers must do certain things to keep that privilege. It requires you setting them up with free internet and a mobile workspace. That can entail spending money on a good VPN provide, such as those on bestvpnrating.com. Workers should be always available just like they would be in the office. If their Internet goes down, then they should head to a public hotspot or to the office. And they have to get a certain amount of work done every day.

What these rules are can vary from office to office, but set the rules in advance so that workers do not get surprised.

  1. Have a pre-work video meeting

With remote work, your company has to learn to prioritize results. At the same time, you need to make sure that everyone knows what is expected both from themselves and from everyone else in the company.

At the start of every week or day, hold a remote meeting so that you can discuss what results you expect by the end of the day. Also make sure that any meeting is done over video chat instead of through email or the phone. As Forbes observes, face to face communication builds better relationships and ensures that people give their undivided attention to what you have to say.

  1. Communicate with them beyond work

If you don’t see your remote workers often, it can be easy to just dump assignments on them and pay them no mind. But remote workers have their amusing quirks and poignant dreams just like in-office workers do.

At bare minimum, find out what their future career prospects are and find ways in which you can assign them work which will get them on that path. That will boost morale and productivity when they know they are working on projects which can help down the line.

  1. Meet with them in-person once a year

As noted above, face to face communication is a better means of communicating than e-mails or phone. While that should not take away from the benefits of remote work, you should attempt to meet with your remote workers every now and then to discuss the job and any concerns they might have.

If you have a lot of remote workers, you can even hold a company retreat where everyone attends. Workers will be pleased to know that the company cares about them this much, and it also provides a chance for remote workers to meet new faces within the company who they may not have interacted with before.

Author's Bio: 

I’m a social entrepreneur and a strong believer in using people-to-people networks through the use of technology to improve people’s lives. Think locally and impact globally – building community through business.